The Eagles got off to a hot start scoring a couple of tries in a couple of minutes and aside from a few lapses in the first half didn't let up as they beat rivals Canada 51-34. Mike Te'o had a hat-trick in a match that was reminiscent of the absence of defense in late 90s Super Rugby. Overall, it was a great result for the Eagles. Canada are very similar in many aspects of the game so coming away with a great win and a lot of tries is only a positive. Now the team moves into the second phase of the Americas Rugby Championship with a trip to play Chile and Argentina. The final match against Argentina will likely decide the winner of this year's ARC.
As note the Eagles got off to a fantastic start with two tries before five minutes of play. Both came as they were able to break open the Canadian defense with ease. Ryan Matyas scored the first try thanks to Bryce Campbell slipping a tackle before passing to Todd Clever who fed the streaking Matyas. The second came as the Eagles stole a lineout and it was quickly fed to Mike Te'o who burst through the defense for the score. Less than five minutes gone and the Eagles were up 12-0.
Take the jump to read more.
The lineout was particularly effective for the Eagles. They stole a few of the Canadian throws and also used theirs to great effect to score a couple of tries. It also starved Canada of possession, especially early. Outside of the restarts and the lineouts Canada barely saw any of the ball early. Will Magie topped off a great first ten minutes with a penalty to put the U.S. up 15-0.
However, things would soon change as the Eagles found themselves under attack from the Canadians. Taylor Paris exploited a big hole in the U.S. defense and skipped through a couple of tackles on his way to Canada's first try. Then the penalties started to rack up for the Eagles that gave Canada plenty of territory to work with. First it was being in front of the kicker then it was side entry, then it was a penalty in the scrum. Eventually it would be too much as Phil Mack collected the ball out of a five meter scrum and went in easily for the try. The conversion from Robbie Povey was off but the match would be it's closest at 12-15.
Canada nearly added another try as the penalties continued to pile on for the U.S. but instead it would be the Eagles that would capitalize with a Davies penalty. Povey would match a few minutes later.
As the half wore down Canada had Ray Barkwill set to the bin on a question penalty. The referee, who was generally spot on all match, called it a no arms tackle from Barkill on Todd Clever and that was the gap the Eagles needed. On the ensuing five meter lineout the maul worked to perfection with Tony Purpura dotting down. Shaun Davies hit the conversion and the Eagles had a comfortable 25-15 lead.
The second half was all Eagles. Canada managed to take some time off Barkwill's binning but before he could fully get back on the Eagles scored a fantastic try. Knowing he had a penalty advantage Will Magie put in a similar pooch kick he made against Uruguay in week one to Blaine Scully. This time it was Nate Augspurger that went up for the ball. He didn't grab it but it went backwards and Te;o was there to score his second try of the match.
Not long after the Eagles scored once again on the maul to extend their lead to 37-15. Canada were able to strike back with another outstanding try from Taylor Paris but it wasn't enough to stop the Eagles. After the try the U.S. continued to apply pressure and eventually earned another try from John Quill.
George Barton would collect another Canada's try of the match but at that point it only made it 44-27. Mike Te'o would then finish off his hat-trick when he collected an excellent weighted grubber from Magie. Canada scored a final try from Admir Cejvanovic with just a minute left but it didn't dent an impressive Eagles victory.
With World Cup qualifying coming up against Canada this summer the Eagles now have a five match win streak against their rivals under their belts. The squads are sure to change before then but no doubt head coach John Mitchell has to be pleased with the result.
Tries: Te'o (3), Matyas, Purpura, Clever, Quill
Conversions: Davies (5)
Penalties: Magie, Davies
Tries: Paris (2), Mack, Barton, Cejvanovic
Conversions: Povey, McRorie (2)